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46                               THE GAY GENIUS

A poor monk is clearing the snow before his doorstep,
And the cold liquid is frozen below his nose. , . .

What does the traveller in the boat want?

He wants a hunting horse to dash through the winds.

While a cold rabbit is hiding in the grass,

A lone falcon swoops down like a fierce host.

Ah, to boil venison in water from broken ice!

Though I cannot drink, I will raise the cup high.

The people of Ch'u are known for hunting;

I will follow whoever leads the hunt.

Let the snowflakes flutter and swirl round my face;

I will take up my brush and make of them a worthy poem.

The natives of this place profited from the natural hazards. They
made a business of salvaging wrecks and selling the boards for repair
of other ships. They also profited in the way of all resort towns from
trade with the tourists, who were often compelled to remain there for
days. The torrents were such at this point that the boat usually had to
be relieved of all its load and the passengers preferred to walk on land
for their health.

From Tsekuei on, the back of the Giant Buffalo was visible on the
distant horizon, towering above the tops of the nearer mountain ridges.
For they were now entering a section dominated by the giant Yellow
Buffalo Mountain. The rocks here were so strange that the Yellow
Buffalo seemed to be led by a cowherd in blue, wearing a farmer's hat
on his head, as the silhouette of the mountain was etched against the
distant sky. The local saying here described the dominating appearance
of the Buffalo, as follows: "In the morning you start from the Buffalo
and at night you stop at the Buffalo. For three mornings and three
nights you do not get away from the Buffalo." The women here were
of fair complexion and tied scarves with black polka dots on their
heads. The landscape vied in its beauty with that of the Wu Gorges,
even surpassing it in the opinion of some travellers. It was the kind of
landscape that we usually see in Chinese paintings, with monoliths of
unbelievable shapes standing against the horizon like a stone screen
designed by God, or a group of stone giants, some with bended heads
and some on their knees, offering their prayer to heaven. On the river-
banks were formations of rock strata designed to impress men with
Nature's grandeur. Here a massive bluff with a flat surface would
stand like a giant sword-blade sticking its point into the bank. Some
distance below, before they were quite finished with the dangerous
section of their voyage, they came to the Frog. The Frog was a great
flat boulder with a striking resemblance to a frog's head, with water